President Hakainde Hichilema has assured UPND members in the diaspora of his unwavering commitment to ensuring that the huge debt mountain that the PF has accrued through reckless borrowing is dismantled.
Speaking to the UPND’s North American Chapter including Canada and the United States of America (USA) via a phone-in radio programme in Washington DC, US yesterday, Mr Hichilema said the UPND had the capacity to turn the economic fortunes of the country around to create the much-needed wealth for the country’s citizens.
He said that lowering the debt burden and providing fiscal oversight to financial lending institutions is critical to ensuring economic sustainability.
He said the UPND was a team which had serious and capable people who had the ability to help in reshaping Zambia’s economic landscape.
He said fiscal discipline and prudent use of public resources was necessary to create a conducive business environment and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which would in turn ensure a sustainable economic growth rate that would in turn help in uplifting the living standards of the people.
And asked on whether he intended to privatize the country’s national broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) in order to make it more autonomous, Mr Hichilema pledged to turn the broadcaster into an entity with editorial autonomy with an independent editorial board in order to ensure that there is no undue political interference in its operations.
Queried further on when the UPND intended to appoint a new Vice President to the vacant position left by the resignation of Dr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) recently or whether he had someone in mind, Mr Hichilema stated that the issue of who ascends to the vice presidency of the party would be settled at the forthcoming elective general conference, adding that he had directed the senior party leadership to ensure that the forthcoming intra-party elections did not destabilize the party and cause disunity among its members.
He also said the liberation struggle for the country needed the combined efforts of every Zambian and not one individual.
Reminded of the numerous challenges that he had gone through as leader of the largest opposition in the country including unlawful imprisonment for a treasonable charge following the 10th April 2017 movie style ransacking of his New Kasama residence, President Hichilema stated that he had ever been ready for the challenges that comes with aspiring for political office especially in less democratic states like Zambia.
Also asked whether his tireless efforts in fighting for a fair and just Zambian society would ever fade, President Hichilema stated that he felt duty-bound to help the least privileged in society as well as contribute to the well being of the broader Zambian society.
On accusations that President Hichilema belonged to the secrete organization called Freemasons, he stated that he had never belonged to the said organization, adding that he remembered too well how the Freemasonry in Zambia issued a statement refuting allegations that he was part of their organization.
Asked whether he supports same sex marriages, Mr Hichilema said he was a Christian whose lifestyle was ordered by Christian values.
Mr Hichilema said the impunity with which the PF had been wielding guns and brandishing other offensive weapons was worrying and alien to the country.
Asked on his and the party’s response to the widespread political violence being perpetuated by the PF regime, Mr Hichilema said that the UPND would continue defending themselves against PF attacks until it formed government.
On the Public Order Act (POA), Mr Hichilema said the colonial piece of legislation would be done away with immediately the UPND formed government, saying the Act was an infringement on the universal rights of individuals to freely assemble.
He said he would ensure that he ruled Zambia in a civilized and intelligent way that would unlock the country’s potential.
*UPND MEDIA TEAM*20.10.2019